The Sixth House
When considering each of the twelve houses that make up a natal chart, the sixth is the last one to penetrate my brain. But as I sit in bed, my morning coffee roasting my hands through its ceramic dwelling, I reflect on my own planets in Virgo’s house, and the unique relationships we each have with our bodies among the COVID-19 virus. With Uranus there, it’s no surprise that I feel like an anomaly within the pandemic. Uranus, as the spokesperson for the eccentric, colors my experience of work, routine, and health. Not to mention it’s roommate, Mars, bringing its motivating spirit to my sixth house, all living in the sign of Capricorn. Needless to say, this is an area of life I take more seriously than astrology itself. My desire to have a job/routine that offers freedom and variety is etched in the bags beneath my eyes, permanently puffy from the number of times I’ve cried before work. Mars grants the discipline to achieve, and the motivation I need to meditate each day, even when I’d rather continue binging Housewives. Despite all of this, I still find the sixth house boring compared to its eleven counterparts. But the insight it offers illuminates the mentality which drives our daily routines and rituals, especially during this global shift affecting precisely this area of life.
I come from a family with strong sixth house placements—my dad with a sixth house Moon in Cancer, and my sister with a packed sixth house including her Moon, Chiron, Mercury, and Pluto at the intersection of Scorpio and Sagittarius. My dad had a complicated relationship with health and work. An addiction to cigarettes and an aversion to vegetables culminated in a heart attack when transiting Pluto opposed his natal moon eight years ago. I remember his routine consisting of several Cancer-like activities such as daily phone calls to his mom, brother, or sister, or preparing our favorite meals for us three times a day.
In contrast, my sister’s experience is less straight-forward. Her bedroom alone reflects the contradiction of planets clumped in the eastern hemisphere of her natal chart. Above the collage of clothing and bags obscuring her carpet rests a row of hand sanitizers placed single file on her tallest dresser. Each time she sanitizes, she uses the first bottle before moving it to the end of the row, repeating the cycle every time her hands get dirty. Even her favorite video games become a ritualistic experience. While I’d rather devote hours to perfecting the looks of my Sims and décor of their homes, Gina prefers Live Mode because she can perform routines through the actions of her avatars. Her families eat breakfast at the same time each morning, and go to sleep at the same time each night. And you can bet each child completes their homework before it’s due. She is the only person I’ve seen use Grand Theft Auto as a way to practice safe driving—keeping pace with the computer cars and following traffic signals instead of bulldozing pedestrians and stealing BMWs. Order and routine offer her a sense of security, and with Sagittarius on the next cusp, a sense of expansiveness as well. Since she was already taking the semester off, the current state of our world has hardly altered her daily practices. But if it did, she would adapt, finding a new system to fulfill the planets and signs that make up her sixth house.
While scrolling through Reddit recently, I discovered some resources by astrologer, Brian Clark, whose perspective on the twelve houses provided new meaning to my previous understanding. He states that disease, health, and our everyday lives comprise the literal interpretation of the sixth house. Psychologically, however, it involves establishing rituals which encourage wellbeing and a sense of coherency. Spiritually, it means “creating space for the sacred in everyday life.” This period of isolation is an ideal time to find solace in our sixth house practices. What daily rituals are sacred to you, and how do they support your personality and soul? Perhaps Earth is undergoing some harsh sixth house transits these days. Then again, Virgo’s house is also the house of healing. Either way, my eyes look less puffy today.
Aquarius, moon in Taurus, Leo rising